Defiance – Season 1, Episode 4 “A Well Respected Man” Review

Rating: 6.9

Defiance is the boatload of crazy that I just love to sit back and take it all in.

This week in the city of Defiance women started going missing. Their adrenaline, it seems, was being harvested through a gnarly nightmare-inducing machine for adrenaline inducing drugs meant to be taken by soldiers. What kicked the episode into action was that one of the women kidnapped was Kenya: Amanda’s sister, Nolan’s lover, and owner of Need/Want. And yes, these women needed to be saved. Like women always do on television. Nope, I’m not kidding, that’s what this week’s episode was about. And once again I ate it all up, even though it was crazy sauce.

On to how I felt about the whole thing:

Firstly, I could use fewer damsels in distress and more powerhouse women on television in general. But I would be the one hundred millionth person to lament this, so I’ll mostly steer clear and move on to what the biggest flaw in “A Well Respected Man” was, in my view: the central relationship between Irisa and Nolan was completely nonexistent.

Irisa did not once make an appearance in “A Well Respected Man”. I felt a lack of her presence was a poor move on the showrunner’s part because the series still relies on that relationship as the heavy emotional center gluing the entire series together in its infancy. This series is still a baby and has absolutely no guarantee that it will succeed. Sure, SyFy poured every penny it possibly had into a budget to put this show on the air. Sure, it’s paired with a video game, but the franchise being cool and different in no way guarantees its success. With Irisa and Nolan being the emotional center (Irisa in particular), it’s problematic to have her simply not exist and make no mention of the Deputy Sheriff and our favorite Irathient.

Clearly this episode was built to foster a relationship between the sisters and the fans. A lot of time was spent on the exposition regarding how Amanda and Kenya survived the Pale Wars, giving the viewers a particular soft spot for Amanda, who has been a pawn and lackluster leader up until this point in the series. She and her sister Kenya each feel like one-trick ponies (Amanda as an overly emotional and easily manipulated mess, Kenya as a sex-crazed prostitute), but this episode definitely opened them up to improvement. Kenya practiced some heroics while Amanda proved she could play political games to get what she needs—but at what cost? They’re both tentatively strong characters, but they’ve yet to prove themselves as a Starbuck, Inara, or similarly strong female leads.

Other thoughts:

  • Sure, the adrenaline being collected felt quite a bit like Zydrate (it was even the same beautiful blue color) from Repo: The Genetic Opera, but I won’t fault these media for belonging to the same genre and using the same gimmicks to attract their audience.
  • Stahma Tarr is clearly the strong female character that I’m looking for. She knows exactly how to get what she wants and she is a total, sly badass while doing so.
  • The McCrawley family doesn’t really do anything for me. My disinterest is continued.
  • I’m glad that the Bio-Men speak.
  • Daytak being made a member of the city council is the most interesting plot point this series has done in terms of interpersonal drama and politics (literal and non-literal).
  • I loved the background behind Amanda and Kenya’s independence, especially the St. Finnegan bit.

 

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